Port Post Pandemic – How things have changed since last year

Port Post Pandemic - How things have changed since last year

Julia O’Sullivan, Contributing Writer

Last year, Port Washington had to adjust to a “new normal,” in which school was hybrid and most people worked from home.  Along with that, people could not attend school sports games and dining was limited and mostly outdoors.  

This year, the town is starting to find its way back to what was once normal.  Full-capacity dining in restaurants has been reinstated, people are commuting to work every day, football games are open to the public, and school is back full time.  After the changes made last year, everyone is learning to truly appreciate everything that has come back this year.

When the pandemic started to spread across the country, the restaurant industry took a hit and had to find ways to stay afloat.  Many places in Port allowed strictly outdoor dining, but when the weather did not cooperate, they would have no business.  Along with outdoor dining, restaurants restricted indoor dining to half-capacity, which resulted in half as much business.  

Following the vaccine distribution and New York state  loosening its regulations, restaurants were finally able to open up again to their full capacity.  Now the eating scene in Port is back to how it was pre-pandemic or better.  

“It was so tough to go out to eat last year because of COVID-19 regulations on restaurants.  I really learned to appreciate being able to go out to dinner, especially with my friends that I wasn’t able to see as much last year,” said junior Eliana Salloum.  

Also, due to COVID-19, many people worked from home for what felt like forever.  Now that a lot of parents are commuting to the city again, there has been a lot more traffic in Port, especially in the mornings.  Everyone had become used to the lack of traffic last year, as no one was driving to work and only half the amount of students were commuting to school.  Now, the enormous jam of cars trying to navigate through town in the morning is a rude awakening for many students who have not been getting to school on time.  

“This school year, Port Boulevard has been crazy.  Last year, it was so much easier to get to school and I got so adjusted to that I’ve been late to school recently,” said junior Lola Gitlin.  

Another setback due to the pandemic was support for Port athletics.  Last year, games and matches were not open to the public and the amount of people that were allowed to go was very limited.  Each athlete on a team, for example, the varsity football team, was given a certain amount of tickets that they could give to their family or friends.  

However, this year Port athletics has dropped restrictions, and all sporting events are open for public viewing.  The football scene has been incredible this season, with the stands always packed full of spirited fans each home game.  

The team’s homecoming game was on Sept. 18, and there was not an empty seat anywhere on the bleachers and not much room on the adjacent grass either.  So many people have been showing up to cheer players on because they were unable to do so last year, and everyone gained appreciation for being able to support their town. 

“When we weren’t allowed to go to the football games last year and support the team, it was really sad.  I now try to go to as many games as possible because I missed the school spirit and cheering on the team,” said junior Alexandra Cascio.  

Now that many of the restrictions of the pandemic have been lifted, people in Port have genuinely learned how valuable things like going out to dinner and attending sports games are, but have also had to face their old challenges that were alleviated last year.